Supporters of an amendment to North Carolina’s constitution that defines marriage as being between one man and one woman celebrated Tuesday evening as they received word the amendment had been overwhelmingly approved by voters.
Many of those who gathered at a hotel ballroom in Raleigh ate wedding cake as N.C. became the 31st state to vote in favor of a marriage amendment to its constitution.
“It’s been a long, long, long journey to victory,” said Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League.
“This not only sends … a message to North Carolina, but this sends a message to the whole country,” he said. “And that is what people of this country want to see – marriage remain as one man and one woman.”
Creech said it wouldn’t have been possible without a “cohesive” effort between churches of all denominations.
“There was such unity,” he said. “It was a team effort all along. On this particular issue, the church rose to the occasion. Baptist pastors, as well as pastors from other denominations … rallied their people to get engaged. What I hope we’ll all learn from this is when the church is fully engaged, and addressing the issues in the culture, you can see the powerful impact that the church can have on the culture, being a moral compass.”
“The citizens of this state have spoken,” added Mark Harris, president of the Baptist State Convention of N.C. and pastor of First Baptist Church of Charlotte.
“They’ve spoken resoundingly that they believe marriage is between a man and a woman.”
Harris said he believes the vote should serve as a “wake up” call to all churches.
Though North Carolina already had marriage laws in place, he said they were becoming increasingly at risk of activist judges as the number of gay “marriage” supporters continues to grow.
Had there been a different outcome in the vote, Harris contended that marriage would eventually be redefined in the courts.
“I feel like there would have been a dramatic shift in momentum,” he said.
“I think the church needs to be able to be proactive in standing for marriage, not only in the public square, but teaching on marriage, preaching on marriage, doing a better job even of the premarital counseling that we’re doing. We have a responsibility to live out what biblical marriage is – I think that’s a great opportunity.”
Amid cheers from the crowd, Tami Fitzgerald, chairwoman for Vote For Marriage NC, announced the Associated Press had called the race when the amendment led by a margin of 61 to 39 percent.
“This campaign has been about one thing and one thing only – protecting marriage as the union between one man and one woman,” she said. “The whole point is simply that you don’t rewrite the nature of God’s design for marriage based on the commands of a group of adults.”
“We are not anti-gay,” she added. “We are pro-marriage.”
In addition to thanking supporters and volunteers, Fitzgerald thanked legislative leaders for “allowing the people of this state to vote on this important issue and putting it on the ballot for us this year,” she said.
“Tonight represents over eight years of concerted effort on their part,” she said.
“Your efforts send a message to the state of North Carolina and to the country. We will not allow marriage to be redefined. The nation is watching North Carolina, and we have given them a high standard to follow.”